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Mildred Hailey drug dealer gets 4 1/2 years in prison; has to stay out of Jamaica Plain for six years after his release

A federal judge this week sentenced Michael Pridgen, 36, to 4 1/2 years in federal prison for selling crack and fentanyl in hallways in the Mildred Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain, the US Attorney's office reports.

US District Court Judge Richard Stearns also ordered that after his release, Pridgen, a member of the Heath Street Gang, not go anywhere near the apartment complex during six years of probation without the written permission of his probation officer. Pridgen grew up in the apartments, but was living in Westboro when he was arrested last year.

In May, he pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and fentanyl and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in a public housing development.

This is Pridgen's second federal sentence. In 2006, a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison for firing a gun outside Roxbury Municipal Court in 2004.

The sentence he got Monday for the drug dealing was slightly less than the lower end of federal sentencing guidelines. In a memo to the judge, a prosecutor said the US Attorney's office had agreed to that both to balance the seriousness of his crimes and the fact that Pridgen had "a difficult childhood," has health problems and has struggled with addiction and now has a family of his own. The geographic restriction after his release:

[I]s to aid Pridgen’s rehabilitation by reducing his opportunities for further crime, and eliminating any expectation from uncharged co-conspirators, fellow gang members who live in or frequent the Hailey Apartments, and/or his prior customers that he will further engage with them in criminal activities.

In her own sentencing memo, Pridgen's attorney pointed to, among other factors, his own drug addiction and his childhood and life as a young adult, which included finding his mother dead of a brain tumor on their living-room floor. Also:

He grew up in the Bromley Heath Projects in Boston, a notoriously dangerous and crime-ridden neighborhood. His mother never married; her children had different fathers, all of whom failed to support her as she raised her children. She often worked two jobs at once and struggled to support herself and the kids.

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PDF icon Prosecution sentencing memo130.11 KB
PDF icon Defense sentencing memo51.7 KB

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Comments

I was going to joke that I didn't think we still had banishment as a punishment, but we do in limited ways.

I didn't find a single concise reference, but this comes up on the top of a Google Search:

Is banishment legal?

Yes. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for an American citizen to be banished from the country. But banishment on a small scale is legal. It's an increasingly common punishment to banish sex offenders from an area around a school or day care.Aug 31, 2018

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There have been discussions about this in child welfare attorneys groups. DCF will, as part of their service plans, require that people stay away from certain locations and not associate with certain people. This has been challenged, as it's quite a different thing for them to require that parents take reasonable action to protect their child from things that meet the legal definition of abuse (which of course they can, and there are already laws requiring this of all parents) and a government entity telling parents who they can and can't use as child care or medical providers, what relatives they can and can't communicate with, and what locations they can and can't frequent. Constitutional challenges of DCF actions usually don't get far though, because DCF is not technically requiring these things of people (but they can take your kids if you don't comply, and everyone knows this) and the courts also have extreme deference to DCF, in which the view of a DCF worker trumps experts, licensed professionals, and even other state departments' decisions.

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Are you OK with a fentanyl peddler living in taxpayer-provided housing?

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